Can Governor Newsom keep his job? A recall effort in California shows dead heat.

President Biden sent an urgent message last week at the nation’s most populous state: keep Gov. Gavin Newsom ‘on the job’. On air, Sen...


President Biden sent an urgent message last week at the nation’s most populous state: keep Gov. Gavin Newsom ‘on the job’. On air, Senator Elizabeth Warren, the eminent progressive from Massachusetts, has repeatedly warned that “Trump’s Republicans” “are coming to take power in California.”

Text messages – half a million a day – spread the word on cell phones. The petitioners plead their cause in front of the entry gates of the suburbs. While some 22 million ballots land in the mailboxes of active registered voters this week ahead of the September 14 recall election, Mr Newsom – a Democrat elected in a landslide 2018 – did everything to keep his post.

The vote should come down to whether Democrats can mobilize enough of the state’s huge base to counter Republicans’ enthusiasm for Mr Newsom’s ouster. Recent polls of likely voters show a stalemate, despite calculations that suggest the governor should ultimately win.

Less than a quarter of the electorate is Republican. Mr Newsom raised more campaign money than his four dozen challengers combined. And the governor’s most serious rival is radio host Larry Elder, who called global warming ” A pitcher,”Says the minimum wage should be “zero-point-zero-zero”, and gave Stephen Miller, the Trump administration’s hard-line immigration adviser, his first large public platform.

But the coronavirus pandemic has not been particularly favorable to governors. This month’s polls show that approval for Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida is sagging as the state writhes under the growing number of deaths and hospitalizations.

And Mr. Newsom’s supporters face a striking degree of ambivalence and distraction.

“I think he did his job as well as any governor, given the last year of the pandemic, but I’m not a fan,” Anamaria Young, 53, told El Dorado Hills recently. , east of Sacramento. Impeaching the governor more than a year before the end of his first term seems undemocratic, said Ms Young, a Democrat, but she also doesn’t like his lack of progress on homelessness and his deference to unions. teachers.

“When my ballot arrives,” she said, “I really don’t know how – or if – I’m going to vote”.

Initiated by Republicans who attacked Mr. Newsom over the death penalty and immigration, once long-term effort to recall the governor gained unlikely traction as the coronavirus persisted. First, the closures linked to the pandemic prompted a judge to extend the measure’s signature collection deadline, and then rumor has it that the governor had dined without a mask with lobbyists during a exclusive restaurant after imploring Californians to cover their faces and stay home.

If a majority of voters decide to remove Newsom, the new governor will be the one among its 46 challengers gets the most votes, even if no rival gets the majority.

Criticism of state recall rules worry for a long time that 49 percent of the electorate could vote to keep an incumbent, only for a tiny plurality of voters to choose a replacement. Mr Newsom urged Democrats to vote no on the recall and not even bother to answer the second question, which asks who should replace him. Among the likely voters, recent polls show support for Mr. Elder, the current favorite, at around 20 percent.

“No intellectually honest analysis” would predict the governor’s defeat, said Paul Mitchell, vice president of bipartisan data firm Political Data Inc. in Sacramento. But state lawmakers in February extended pandemic-related accommodations to voters throughout the year, handing out a wild card.

The rules allow postal voting on a scale comparable only to the 2020 presidential election – which is apparently a democratic advantage, although out-of-year participation is more difficult to predict. Only one other attempt to recall a California governor has been voted on, and 18 years have passed since the state replaced Davis Gray with Arnold schwarzenegger, noted Mitchell.

“The swing voters in this campaign are not the ones who usually choose which party to vote for,” agreed Nathan Click, a former spokesperson for the governor who now campaigns in his defense. “These are Democrats who choose to vote. “

Mr. Elder, 69, a black “little-libertarian” lawyer who rose to national stature from Los Angeles, where he has been on the radio for decades, said in an interview that he was not “a crazy-eyed radical, ”and that he entered the race at the behest of“ normal people ”such as his barber and dry cleaner as well as like-minded friends such as Dennis Prager, his broadcast mentor. right. His priorities – choosing public school, high housing costs and increasing crime – transcend party labels, he said.

He said his opposition to abortion was irrelevant in a state that supports abortion rights as much as California, and his view that a minimum wage deters job creation is dominant economy. Remarks like the one he made in 2008 on “Larry King Live” ignoring global warming was simply criticizing “alarmism,” he said, acknowledging that climate change was happening but adding, falsely, that “no one really knows to what degree” it is caused by humans.

He said he had voted for every Republican presidential candidate since the 1970s, not just Donald J. Trump.

“Why bring up Stephen Miller? Why mention abortion? Why increase the minimum wage? Mr. Elder said. “Because Gavin Newsom cannot defend his record. “

Polls indicate that the majority of Californians approve of Mr. Newsom’s policies, but when the polls are restricted to most likely voters, its margin is thinning.

A statewide poll in mid-July by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, found that likely voters were almost equally divided over whether to oust the governor, with 47% saying they would vote to recall him and 50% saying they would keep it, an advantage that barely exceeded the poll’s margin of error. Subsequent polls confirmed these results.

Thus, Mr Newsom has spent a lot to get the share of the 46% of the voters of his party. Its campaign to defend against the recall received some $ 46 million in contributions until July, far more than Mr. Elder ($ 4.5 million); Kevin Faulconer, former mayor of San Diego ($ 2.1 million); John Cox, the businessman campaign with a bear ($ 9.4 million, mostly self-funded); reality TV figure and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner ($ 750,000); or any other candidate.

The simple reminder that the ballots are heading to mailboxes should turn many listening Democrats into likely voters, Mr Click said, and teams of supporters are texting some 500,000 Democrats a day. . Representative Barbara Lee, co-founder and co-chair of Women Against the Recall, said the National Democratic Party is looking to these local efforts as a potential model for future campaigns.

But Sonja Diaz, director of the Latino Policy and Politics Initiative at the University of California, Los Angeles, said Democrats appeared to be catching up as the Delta variant worried voters.

“People have procrastinated,” she said, comparing the governor’s team to overconfident students who didn’t study for a final. “Delta has made it clear that you are not ready for the exam. “

Northeast Los Angeles, in Palmdale, canvassers from an immigrant advocacy group introduced the governor to voters last week.

Ashley Reyes, 27, a registered Democrat who watched her toddler and cousins ​​play in her gated driveway, said she didn’t realize the recall qualified for the ballot. Her parents and in-laws were immigrants, she said, adding that she would vote to keep the governor.

Looking into 101-degree heat through his metal screen door, Edgar Robleto, 62, a Republican, replied “I want him to go” when canvassers mentioned Mr Newsom. The state’s GOP, which represents 24 candidates, voted last weekend against approving a candidate, fearing a Republican would decide not to vote.

Experts predict a slugfest. “Negative partisanship is the main driver of political decision-making right now,” said Mike Madrid, a longtime Republican adviser.

David Townsend, a Democratic consultant, agreed, “This is going to be totally tribal. “

“It won’t be about Newsom,” he said. “It will be a question of whether Democrats want Trump to have a governor in California.”



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Newsrust - US Top News: Can Governor Newsom keep his job? A recall effort in California shows dead heat.
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